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Gillian Anderson, Jessie J and Sandi Toksvig considered for Strictly Come Dancing’s first all-female dance pairing

Emma Powys Maurice June 8, 2020
Strictly Come Dancing

Gillian Anderson and Jessie J are top picks for the next series of Strictly Come Dancing (Mike Marsland/Tibrina Hobson/Getty)

Gillian Anderson and Jessie J are reportedly among the top celebrity picks for the first all-female dance pairing on Strictly Come Dancing.

The prime time ballroom dancing show recently announced plans to introduce its first same-sex pairing after facing sustained criticism for its lack of LGBT+ inclusivity.

While ITV’s Dancing on Ice stormed ahead with Ian ‘H’ Watkins and Matt Evers’ incredible same-sex skating duo, Strictly continued to drag its feet, with Waktins reportedly being told: “The BBC doesn’t do that, it’s not us.”

“Obviously ‘diversity’ is the key word in television today and, of course, Strictly wants to be progressive,” a source told The Sun.

“The plan is to have a same-sex couple, and two women. Dancing on Ice featured two men, so it would be good to offer something different and keep pushing boundaries.

“While [professional dancer] Johannes would love to dance with a guy, that would almost be too predictable.”

Although the last series of Strictly was praised for featuring a same-sex routine between two professional dancers, all the competitive dance pairings have been strictly heterosexual – until now.

TV bosses are reportedly looking for a high-profile lesbian or bisexual female celebrity to make up one half on the show’s first same-sex pairing – and at the top of the list are former X Files star Gillian Anderson and singer Jessie J.

Actor Anderson is bisexual, whereas Jessie J came out as bisexual during an interview in 2011, then backtracked years later labelling her bisexuality “a phase”.

Strictly Come Dancing same-sex dance
Professional dancers Graziano Di Prima and Johannes Radebe performed a one-off routine on the last series of Strictly Come Dancing (BBC)

Lesbian TV presenter Steph McGovern, former Great British Bake Off host Sandi Toksvig and singer Chelcee Grimes are also being considered for the show.

And the gay barrister and TV personality Rob Rinder has been offered a same-sex dance on Strictly’s upcoming Christmas special.

“I was offered next year’s Christmas special with a same-sex dancer,” he previously told OK! magazine. “I’d do anything. I’ve danced on stage with Anton du Beke for a Grenfell Tower benefit.

“Ultimately a same-sex couple is inevitable,” he added.

Rinder, 41, finished in fifth place during the 14th series of Strictly in 2016, but he had to dance with a female partner, Oksana.

More: BBC, bisexual, dancing on ice, gillian anderson, ITV, jessie j, lesbian, Sandi Toksvig, Strictly Come Dancing

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